I was standing next to my unconscious patient, when it happened. Grey dots gathered; blurring my vision. Breathe, I told myself. I knew I needed to let the others know what was happening, but I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even slide down to the floor. All I could do was to hold on to the operating table. Everything went black.
Anyone fancy a makeover?
And you would think I passed out. But I didn’t. No, instead I was caught in this strange inbetween. I was completely powerless, but I could still hear the nurses and doctors talking. I couldn’t make out the words they were saying, but I held on to their voices. I was not going to become the student that fainted before the operation even started.
Eventually one of them noticed that I had gone white as snow. I was placed in a chair, and up my legs went. My ears were ringing, and I was blinking like crazy. Blind as blind can be. Slowly, ever so slowly, the world came back to me. I could make out “you’re not the first one.” Gradually, shadows replaced darkness, and grey figures replaced shadows.
I sat outside for several minutes afterwards, watching my feet.
I can’t explain why it happened. Perhaps it was the new smells. Perhaps it was the face-mask. Perhaps it was my sky-high expectations. I’d been looking forward to the operation for so long – imagine how I felt when I messed up so early on. I was scared they wouldn’t let me come back in. However, after dutifully drinking several glasses of juice, they did.
And for the five and a half hours the operation took – I actually enjoyed myself immensely.
In our second year, nursing students are assigned to a ward for two months. I received the children’s ward. This is my fourth week working there. It is exciting, it is educational, and at times it is funny – but overall I can’t say that it is fun.
At the entrance of the ward – A snake.
We laugh, we play, we run around – children and personnel alike. However, that is only one part of it. The next might consist of pain that I can’t relieve, and of tears that I can’t dry. I can go from one room, where all is well in the world, to another, where the world seems at a standstill – about to end.
I love children – love their innocence, free spirit and unfiltered minds. I love working with them. Except for when they’re very, very sick. I find it difficult to hold such tiny hands in mine, and feel them getting colder. Perhaps one adapts after a longer amount of time, and learns how to handle it better.
Aside from the hurt I experience, and the contrast of moving back and forth between getting better and getting worse – this is still a month I will look back on and appreciate. I have learned a lot of things – even if one of them is that I might not be cut out to work with this age group.
The examinator called my name and I stepped up. “The assignment is to change the stoma and teach the patient how to do so himself.” I was overjoyed. Over the last few weeks I’ve spent hours upon hours practicing the different tasks we could receive, and this one I felt confident in.
My patient ❤
The exam began. And it went wrong from the beginning. Suddenly I couldn’t remember the order of things. Suddenly I couldn’t explain my actions. I drew a complete blank on the first two questions she asked me. My pulse quickened. My breathing became shallow. Nothing about my hands resembled the firm, yet gentle, touch of a nurse.
With real patients I’ve never wavered. But with this doll? My hands were shaking.
“Tell the patient what you’re thinking,” the examinator said. Our eyes met. I didn’t need her to say it out loud to know what she was thinking. I refused to give up though. I struggled onward and made awkward conversation with the doll. It went a little bit better, but not nearly good enough. The last minutes were miserable ones.
I’m sorry for the awful treatment this time, but at least you know that I know better.
The nerves really got the better of me this time. What’s worse, I can tell you exactly where I went wrong. When push came to shove I choked – I couldn’t show my knowledge when it mattered. Have any of you ever experienced something similar? If you haven’t, be glad, because it downright sucks.
Because I don’t drink coffee. But I do have so much to tell you.
It’s been several weeks since I suddenly stopped posting (again). I’m back in Norway, back in school, and have already had my first exam. In two weeks I have another. Ususally we have our exams at the end of the semester, but the second year Nursing students will spend months at the hospital, so the idea is to get the exams out of the way.
The days are becoming shorter and shorter, but feel longer and longer.
I don’t blog that much about it, but studying Nursing is hard. In this week alone we have done (on each other): peripheral venous catheter, sub q pain pump, several different injections, and nasogastric tube. There’s been a lot of blood. Suffice to say, I’m tired at the end of the day.
It took a couple of tries, but everyone finally found a vein!
Despite the struggle, I’m happy. I’ve started dancing again, I’m spending more time with the people I care about, and ultimately doing more of the things that I love. I just often find myself exhausted. I wish I had more energy to blog. I haven’t even answered all of your amazing comments. I have read them though, and appreciated Every. Single. One.
Thanks for sticking with me through it all!
Lastly, I just want to wish you well. Feel free to tell me about what you’ve been up to since I’ve been gone! And if you’ve had a bad week, remember it’s almost Friday. It’s almost Friday!
It’s me again. Still alive.
If you wonder where I’ve been; I’ve spent the last month in the cardiac medical ward. As an employee, thankfully. I got a summer job as an assistant. I’ve learned a great deal, and I’ve never been more sure of my choice of studying nursing.
However, it’s only now I fully realize what I’ve gotten myself into. Picture walking into a room, and wonder if the person there is breathing. Picture having a pleasant conversation, and it suddenly turns into “can you hear me? Hey, are you still with me?” and an emergency team. At all times, two heartbeats may turn to one.
The absence of a heartbeat is the loudest silence I’ve ever heard.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, most of the time everything turns out okay. One evening might be about her heartbeat slowing and mine racing, but the next morning it’ll be like it never happened, and we go back to me saying “bear with me, I’m sure I’ll figure out how to change ECG/EKG paper eventually…” and she replying “I remember being a student, oh those were the days…”
This picture is from the basement. Want to guess how many times I got lost down here?
In Norway, it takes three years to become a nurse. In the fall I start my second year. It’s still a long road in front of me, but what an adventure. And at this moment, I see only green lights ahead.